They had a private conversation of fully half an hour, pacing the poop the whole time, and then Cornet was summoned back, again, to his usual station. The latter immediately received an order to acquaint Captain Stowel the rear-admiral desired that the Cæsar might be hove-to, and to make a signal for the Druid 36, to come under the flag-ship's lee, and back her main-top-sail.
"We are none too soon, sir," said Stowel, the moment he had received the rear-admiral with the customary etiquette of the hour. "It's a cap-full of wind already, and it promises to blow harder before morning. We are catted and fished, sir, and the forecastle-men are passing the shank-painter at this moment."
"There is no manner of doubt of that. You have all the notions of a true sailor, I find, Stowel; obey orders before all other things. I am curious to know how our captains, generally, stand affected to this claim which the Pretender has set up to the throne." "Can't tell you, on my soul, sir; though I fancy few of them give themselves any great anxiety in the matter.
Come nearer, now, and let us shake hands. So go aloft, and hold on well, for it is a windy night, and I do not desire to lose you overboard." The boy did as told, squeezed Bluewater's hand, and dashed out of the cabin to conceal his tears. As for the rear-admiral, he immediately relapsed into his fit of forgetfulness, waiting for the arrival of Stowel.
A short time after their arrival at Manchester, Stowel reminded Joseph of his promise, but he coolly replied that he could not go just then, as his wife was amongst strangers, and would be very lonesome if he quitted her. Mr. Stowel was, like Mr. Lawrence, obliged to return without any remuneration, and with less money than he came.
Bluewater paced the poop an hour longer, having dismissed his signal-officer and the quarter-masters to their hammocks. Even Stowel had turned in, nor did Mr. Bluff deem it necessary to remain on deck any longer. At the end of the hour, the rear-admiral bethought him of retiring too.
"Captain Stowel tells us, sir, that the yards ought not to be braced in exactly alike; but that we ought to check the weather-braces, a little, as we go aloft, so that the top-sail yard should point a little less forward than the lower yard, and the topgallant than the top-sail."
"Well, Stowel," observed Bluewater, smiling sadly, "even the old Cæsar must be left behind. It is seldom a flag-captain has not some heart-burnings on account of his superior, and most sincerely do I beg you to forget and forgive any I may have occasioned yourself." "Heaven help me, sir! I was far, just then, from thinking of any such thing!
Sir Gervaise, not quite as bad as that, though sadly hurt; yes, indeed, very sadly hurt!" Sir Gervaise Oakes groaned, and for a few minutes he leaned his head on the hammock-cloths, veiling his face from the sight of men. Then he raised his person erect, and said steadily "Run your top-sails to the mast-head, Captain Stowel, and round your ship to. I will come on board of you."
Stowel not having spared you in that way, I'll answer for it." "Mrs. Stowel commands ashore, Sir Gervaise, and I command afloat; and in that way, we keep a quiet ship and a quiet house, I thank you, sir; and I endeavour to think of her at sea, as little as possible." "Ay, that's the way with you doting husbands; always ashamed of your own lively sensibilities. But what has become of Bluewater?